News in Brief

IDA sets up Documentary Credits Coalition; ITV Digital bites the dust; PACT lobbies to maintain tax credits for U.K. TV producers.
April 25, 2002

The International Documentary Association in the U.S. has established the Documentary Credits Coalition, a reaction to news that Discovery plans to reduce its 30-second on-screen credit roll and move the bulk of the credits to an online site. IDA president Michael Donaldson says the coalition consists of writers, directors, producers, editors, cinematographers and other filmmakers who are ‘concerned’ and ‘offended’ by Discovery’s proposal.

After a protracted struggle to survive, ITV Digital has lost the battle. According to a report in the BBC News, the U.K. pay TV network will be broken up and its assets sold. ITV Digital was jointly backed by Carlton and Granada.

PACT, the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television in the U.K., is actively working to win some concessions from Treasury officials, in the wake of news that TV productions will no longer qualify for the tax break known as sale and leaseback. The issue was raised last week when Chancellor Gordon Brown made his budget announcement. PACT has approximately six weeks to lobby the government while the finance bill is still open for debate.

The U.K.’s Channel 4 is expected to post a £20 million (US$30 million) loss for the first time in a decade, The Guardian reports. The slump in advertising revenues and the cost of building digital channels such as E4 are the main reasons cited.

Court TV has announced plans to spend US$160 million on primetime programming – including more than 100 hours of original doc productions – over the next two years.

The Discovery Channel has partnered with DIRECTV Latin America on an interactive version of Walking with Prehistoric Beasts. The program is scheduled to air on April 29.

The Cannes Film Festival (May 15 to 26) has announced its lineup, which includes a handful of docs, such as Searching for Debra Winger by Rosanna Arquette, Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore and The Kid Stays in the Picture by Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein. For more on the fest, visit //

A collection of Cambodian film memorabilia is now available to interested filmmakers through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, courtesy of a donation from businessmen Fernando Gelbard and Scott Rosenberg.

Just when you thought reality TV couldn’t get any stranger, U.S. prodco Zoo Productions has proposed a weekly series titled Ultimate Dodgeball, based on the popular children’s game in which opponents pelt one another with rubber balls.

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